ePortfolios allow you, the student, to have an online repository of the artifacts you have produced throughout your university experience. Combining elements from blogs, professional sites (such as LinkedIn), and conventional portfolios, ePortfolios allow you to showcase your work and learning in a format that moves beyond simply turning in assignments. The artifacts you produce can include not only written work but also multimedia projects and extracurricular work, such as involvement in internships or campus organizations.
An ePortfolio also allows you to curate your work, highlighting your development as a learner and a contributor to a chosen field of study. Instead of focusing merely on completing a course or a major, ePortfolios can help you to focus on your own learning and how you can communicate your work and skills to grad schools, internship programs, or potential employers.
ePortfolios in Grand Challenge Learning Courses
You can use ePortfolios in Grand Challenge courses in a variety of ways, depending on how each instructor implements this learning tool. While many classes have used ePortfolios to compile end-of-semester final projects, other courses have used ePortfolios on a more regular basis. One course even generated a collaborative ePortfolio that required all students to contribute their weekly assignments to a single ePortfolio, allowing all students to see each other’s work and respond directly to one another’s ideas.
ePortfolios can aid you in explaining how your encounters with grand challenge topics helped you to sharpen critical thinking, grasp complex multidisciplinary questions and problems, and work in collaborative settings with faculty and fellow students. ePortfolios enable you to put forward concrete narratives of intellectual and professional development. By developing the capacity to articulate one’s goals and achievements, ePortfolios can help you prepare materials for career placement, graduate study, and many other professional pursuits.
Once you receive access to the campus’s ePortfolio platform, Digication, you will continue to have access after you complete a Grand Challenge course—and even after you graduate from the University of Illinois. ePortfolios have important value in reflecting on your entire college experience and in presenting your work and skills to interested parties outside of the university. For this reason, the University of Illinois ensures that you will continue to have access to creating and maintaining ePortfolios even after you have left our campus.
The ePortfolios below come from students right here at Illinois.
Zhongyi Zhao (Created for GCL 128: Fictions of Sustainability)